I tend to like my green beans pretty plain. Like broccoli. I could pounds and pounds of those two veggies just steamed with a healthy sprinkle of salt. Maybe a squeeze of lemon. That is how my husband likes them too.
But the green beans are so gorgeous at our markets right now. Plump, long, incredibly fresh. I felt like I wanted to celebrate their beauty more and make something a little more substantial. I found this recipe in my new Plenty cookbook but knew instinctively that some changes had to be made to the method. I was instructed to toss cooked beans, snow peas and peas in a warm spiced oil, then scatter crushed garlic, lemon zest, chopped chile and tarragon over the top. I don’t know about you, but crushed garlic and lemon zest don’t “scatter” too well for me. I wouldn’t welcome a big bite of raw garlic-laced green bean or a fuzzy lemon-zested one. I certainly am not interested in getting a big bite of jalapeño either.
Instead of following directions like a good oldest child, I made more of a dressing including the juice of the lemon as well, and poured tossed the mixture with the vegetables. I am not a huge snow pea fan and would normally have substituted snap peas, but instead I just upped the green beans and threw in a diced avocado. The oil with crushed coriander seeds and mustard seeds really made this dish. I loved their smoky flavor and subtle crunch along with the tartness of the lemon. I guess I could eat pounds of green beans this way too.
1½ pounds green beans, ends trimmed
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp. coriander seed, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 large avocado, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and then the green beans. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the peas. After 30 seconds, scoop all the vegetables out into the ice bath, adding more ice if necessary. When cool, drain well, then place in a large bowl. Add the chopped shallots and avocado.
Put the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and oil into a small frying pan and turn the heat to medium. When the seeds begin to pop, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile put the garlic, lemon juice and zest, chile, and tarragon in a bowl or jar. Add a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Pour the oil over and shake or whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gently toss to combine. This dish looks best on a platter garnished with additional tarragon leaves.